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So, as a youngest child I most certainly do not fit his description of selfishness but the more I researched Adler's birth order theory, the more I realized how my upbringing involves less of the influence because of other factors he mentioned. There were only 5 years between my oldest sibling and me with 2 other siblings in between us. We were economically poor so I believe the whole “spoiled” thing with the last-born was not applicable to me. Darn, I think I missed out:(
There are other factors that interfere with birth order impact also.
Adlerian.US explains, “A child's birth order position may be seized by another child if circumstances permit… The child's opinion of himself and his situation determines his choice of attitude… Birth order is sometimes not a major influence on personality development. The other potentially significant influences are: organ inferiority, parental attitudes, social & economic position, and gender roles. Adler speculated that birth order differences would begin to disappear when families became less competitive and autocratic, and more cooperative and democratic.”
I have a sister who is 13 months older than me and she seemed to steal my limelight (or "seize" it in Adler's words). I think she is a better fit for the youngest child profile. As a child and as an adult, I am someone who loves to share; it feels good to share things and experiences with others. It warms my heart.
I grew up in a dysfunctional household developing while I (and my sisters, brother) were trying to survive the impact of alcoholism. I think, because of these circumstances, as apposed to being someone pampered as the youngest, I almost felt invisible and, at the time this wasn't a bad thing. When the household is devoured by a drunken rampage, blending into the wall is something that becomes a coping mechanism.
It took self-awareness, an open mind and a willingness to heal as an adult to overcome this in order to find my confidence and voice.
Although my family dynamics skewed the application of Adler’s birth order charting, I do believe it is a good starting point when working with a client.
What are your thoughts?